It’s always odd going back to somewhere that you thought you knew very well. So it was when I returned to the estate in Whitley Bay where I spent five or so of my teenage years. I arrived there as a boy and left as a man! Well, I went to college which I’m not sure is the same thing.
When I left, which is now over forty years ago, I remember broad streets with well proportioned houses, with large gardens front and back, something you hardly see with new builds. The houses were big by the standards of the time and life felt good. It was a great place to grow up in, especially as our house was in a cul-de-sac with no through traffic.
We returned to visit some old friends who had moved back to the estate and couldn’t help taking a trip down memory lane. The estate still looked great, though there are many more houses now than back then. What struck us though was how mature the trees and other greenery were. The whole road had a much narrower look and was verdant and full of life. It was as if the house had moved closer to each other. Indeed the whole road seemed shorter, which of course it isn’t.
Everything seemed closer to each other, the old railway track, the pub and shops, even the underpass where we spent many an hour bored out of our skulls. Our minds had played tricks on us. The passage of time had extended distance in our minds or shrunk distance in reality.
I have had similar experiences when visiting places where I lived when I was very young. Then it all made sense as the world was much bigger relative to me. I can’t understand why I have had the same feeling however with the last house I shared with my parents. I can assure you that I am no taller now than I was when I left. I am somewhat wider though.
Time is relative. It seems that memories are as well.